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s19 - Sharks offseason [WB1]

2021-07-30

After a surprising run this season, a run that would see the Sharks fall just shy in the Stanley Cup Final to the Philadelphia  Flyers, the Sharks find themselves at a bit of a crossroads this offseason. They lost guys such as Rod Brind’Amour, Alexei Zhamnov, Dmitri Khristich, Pierre Turgeon, etc to retirement. This leaves them with quite a few holes on their pro roster, so what are the plans going forward? Lets take a look at offseason plans for the Sharks.

The Trade: Before the VHL entry draft on Thursday night, Sharks GM Cook immediately addressed their concern at the 2C slot by bringing in steady veteran Alexei Yashin via trade with the Buffalo Sabres, sending out 2 future 2nd round draft picks in the process. Yashin, a veteran of over more than 1100 VHL games, has scored 299 goals and 431 assists for a whopping 730 points over his career to date. Yashin also comes off a season in which he put up 19G and 23A in 62 games, as he was traded mid season to the Sabres from a cap strapped Islanders team. Under contract for 2 more seasons at a 11.9M cap hit may seem a bit steep, however it gives the Sharks a bit of flexibility next week heading into Free Agency.

The Draft: The Sharks held 2 first round selections in this years entry draft: at 18th overall, they select winger Mikkel Boedker. Hopes are that Boedker can slot in nicely in a middle 6 type role a few years down the road. Just 3 picks later at 21st overall, they got dman Justin Schultz, a Defensemen they are hoping can be a solid point producer from the backend, and man the Powerplay in a few years. Their next pick would come at 44th overall, Jori Lehtera. Lehtera projects to be a bottom 6 Center, after a few years in Seattle. The Sharks would wrap up the entry draft at 96th overall, drafting winger Brandon McMillan. McMillan projects to be another bottom 6 forward at best, but is more likely to spend most of his career in the AHL, barring any significant development in his last few years of juniors.

The plans: The Sharks are still waiting one more season at least on the likes of Bozak, Staal, Dubnyk, Franson, etc. In the meantime, they will rely on their goalie tandem from previous seasons of Clemmenson and Ellis. There are lots of UFA options out there, however plans are to avoid any of the big pricetags, as alluded to earlier in the week with the Yashin acquisition. The Sharks top 6 this upcoming season will primarily be guys who have developed and moved up within the organization, and their defense is mostly returning from last season. Currently, the Sharks need players to fill in on: 3/4RW, 4LW, 6D, with just about $11m in cap space to do so.

The projected lineup:

Vrbata (82) – Backes (81) – Horton (78)

Morrow (79) – Yashin (79) – Cheechoo (78)

Kelly (72) – Calder (75)- ???

??? – Arkhipov (68) - ???

Zyuzin (83) – Sauer (79)

Hainsey (80) – Sutton (75)

Kuba (78) - ???

Clemmensen (82)

Ellis (76)